My Love Essentially column, on why we need to respond to the tragic Dallas police shootings not with more hate and anger, but rather with love.
Respond to Acts of Hate With Love by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press
Hopeless and depressing are two words that came to mind when I heard about the Dallas police shootings last week.
The ambush that led to five dead and seven injured police officers, as well as two injured civilians, made me think about how much prejudice and hatred there is in the world, and I felt more pessimistic than ever about race relations, which seem increasingly strained by the day.
But then I thought of something. It came to me as a glimpse of hope for an issue that seems to lack any. Both the killings of innocent black men by police officers and the killings of brave, hard-working police officers are out of our control in a direct sense. However, there is something every human being can control: the way we respond to these despicable acts of hate.
We have choices. We can be mad. We can see a black man walking down the street and despise him because the man police say killed those Dallas police officers was black as well. We can see a police officer and immediately surmise he is a racist, given all the shootings of late. But all this will do is fuel more hatred.
The smarter, better option of dealing with the devastation of this horrific act and other race-related violence is to counter the hate with love. Here are four ways to do this.
1. Teach your children. The other day, I was walking by a lake and noticed a duck teaching her five ducklings how to wash themselves. She would stick her beak into her feathers and all five ducklings would follow suit, doing the exact same thing in the exact same manner.
It made me realize how perfectly kids emulate their parent’s behaviors and words. So, if you say derogatory things about black men or cops, your kids will learn to feel the same. If you teach your kids to have love in their heart for all people, they’re more likely to grow up with an open mind, and in that regard, you are helping race relations improve.
2. Show gratitude to police officers. Can you imagine how frightening it must be for police officers to do their jobs right now? If you happen to run into one, why not walk up to them and tell them how brave you think they are, how appreciative you are of their dedication and how grateful you feel to have them protecting you? Your words might inspire continued courage and motivation that a police officer needs every day he or she is on the job.
3. Appreciate your spouse and family. Every police officer killed in action and every innocent black man killed leaves behind loved ones that could include a spouse, children, family members and friends. With this as a reminder how precious life is, it is never a bad idea to tell your loved ones how you feel and or to do something thoughtful to show your love.
4. Celebrate each other’s differences. The best way to explain this is to share a passage that was written by Rabbi Paul Cohen, senior rabbi at Temple Jeremiah in Northfield, referring not only to the tragedy in Dallas, but also to the conflict in the Middle East: “Affirming one’s own identity too often means disparaging the ‘other.'”
“I am in and you are out” is often the way we acquire and maintain a sense of belonging. But, this is not a necessary outcome,” Cohen has written. “At the end of the day, unless and until we are able to truly live the truth that each of us is a human being created in the image of God these horrific episodes will not relent.”
People say it’s trite to say “If everyone was the same, the world would be a boring place.” Not only isn’t it trite, but we need the saying on a few million billboards. Especially now.
Hate is exhausting. Hate makes a person lose sight of life’s beauty and goodness. Hate destroys others. Hate destroys the hater. Love, on the other hand rejuvenates. Loving and being loved makes a person want to help others, sustain compassion and make the world a better place. Love makes people grow and prosper. Martin Luther King Jr. said…(click here to read the rest of the article, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press .)
Like this article? Check out my blog, “Keep Hating”